Recently, local artist Charles Farrar asked to use some pipes from our old Austin organ to make crosses to celebrate its seventy-five years of service and to contribute toward the dedication of the Van Ness Hamrick Organ, C. B. Fisk Opus 136. Connecting the old and the new—honoring the past while living in the present—is an important part of our Episcopal tradition. While we celebrate the Van Ness Hamrick Organ, it is important to honor all those whose ministries have brought us to this point.
In addition to the leadership listed in this booklet, I especially want to thank those who have made St. Peter’s music ministry deserving of as fine an instrument as C. B. Fisk Opus 136. First among the faithful is the St. Peter’s Choir, the dedicated volunteers who lead worship Sunday after Sunday, always striving toward new levels of musicianship, commitment, community, and prayerfulness. I also thank the choir’s current section leaders, Rodney Currin, Anna Petaccia, John Hall, and Kate Norton, and staff members of St. Peter’s and The Choir School at St. Peter’s, especially Assistant Organist & Choirmaster Aaron Goen, Choir School Managing Director Kay Johnson, and retired Town Choir Director Carol Lillard. Their tireless work and attitudes of selflessness motivate people by example as well as through the beauty of their music.
Among those whose ongoing work has brought this organ to St. Peter’s are the artisans of the C. B. Fisk organ company. They created an instrument that has fulfilled and even exceeded our high expectations. Their constant pursuit of excellence in design, craftsmanship, artistry, and collaboration imbue this instrument with qualities indescribable but certainly tangible. This instrument, by its reputation, has already attracted many people to St. Peter’s, and it will continue to deliver a beautiful experience that will draw people back time and time again.
Finally, I am thankful for the great vision of our congregation. In 1992 I joined St. Peter’s as a parishioner, attracted by its ministry to the homeless. Soon afterwards, the rector invited me to serve as organist and choirmaster and help him build a new vision for a music program. Now, with the Van Ness Hamrick Organ, St. Peter’s parishioners have claimed this vision for and commitment to music in worship and music as outreach, empowering this parish to feed the souls of all who enter.
As we dedicate the Van Ness Hamrick Organ to the glory of God, we are also rededicating ourselves to faithful service. Now that our new pipe organ is completed, the real work begins. While we enjoy the success of a completed project, after today we will also enjoy the pleasure of a united purpose: inspiring all of God’s people to holy possibilities.
Ben Outen, Director of Music and Organist (1992-2017)